Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
Lions have recorded a convincing 5-0 victory in their final Group D BLK Silver Boot match against SWQ Thunder on Sunday afternoon.
Goals to Michael Butters, Kenya Takahashi, Jack Lewis, Nathan Shepherd and Sam Fellows ensured their side’s passage through to the tournament’s semi-final stage.
Thunder made their tactics known early with plenty of numbers behind the ball in an attempt to combat the attacking power of their more fancied opponents.
Goalkeeper Luke Borean was called into action with Butters and Alex Schiavo providing early advances for their side.
Peter Gaffney provided a delightful cross for Schiavo whose glancing header fell wide of the post.
Lions looked to have broken the deadlock when Takahashi, Butters and Schiavo all combined, the latter having his strike that landed in the back of the net cancelled out by the assistant’s flag for offside.
Three minutes later, the breakthrough would arrive as Schiavo cut back from the by-line, in the process committing Borean with Butters the beneficiary putting into an open next from just outside the six-yard box.
Lions relentless attacks continued and Takahashi was next to score. Given time to compose himself, he brilliantly sized up Borean and found the perfect angle to double the advantage.
Thunder’s lone time to trouble Phil Zabaks came in the final minutes of the half when Piok forced the gloveman into a low save.
The half would round out with Lewis making it a Lions third from an acute angle into the far post.
The extent of Lions dominance in the match was borne out by the halftime stats, the hosts having 70% possession and a whopping fifteen shots to the Thunder’s one.
Schiavo continued to be influential without personal reward. He had a shot blocked by Keegan Sheridan but provided his second assist of the afternoon soon after when he fired in for Borean who was unable to hold the ball, Shepherd on hand to sneak in and put away the rebound.
Midway through the second stanza, Shepherd delivered an immaculate corner that was sharply flicked on by Marco Jankovic but straight to an aware Borean waiting on the line.
Shepherd’s crossing abilities were again on show when he played on for Tim Morgan who had his effort tipped over the bar by Borean.
Fellows completed Lions scoring when he pounded Takahashi’s exquisite cut-back from the goal line past Thunder replacement keeper Jayden Formosa.
The win sees Lions complete a perfect three wins from three matches to top Group D and set up a clash against Gold Coast City in Thursday night’s semi-final at 8:30. The earlier semi-final at 6:30 will see Brisbane Strikers take on Holland Park.
Lions 5 (Michael Butters 27’, Kenya Takahashi 40’, Jack Lewis 45’, Nathan Shepherd 63’, Sam Fellows 87’) v SWQ Thunder 0
Lions: Phil Zabaks, Matheus Spindorello, Nathan Reardon, Matija Simic, Jack Lewis, Marco Jankovic, Kenya Takahashi, Peter Gaffney, Michael Butters, Alex Schiavo, Nathan Shepherd, Jason Tobin, Tim Morgan, Sam Fellows, Liam Cosgrove, Declan Murphy.
SWQ Thunder: Luke Borean, Jack Percy, Rowan Soloman, Keagan Sheridan, Slide Canda, Jacob Bigby, Ben Barrowclift, Jackson Hausler, Tom Fanning, Majok Piok, Anthony Grant, Emmanuel Philip, Jackson Courtney, Kimba Kimbosa, Trent Bowles, Jayden Formosa.